The third pillar of the Beacon Project’s approach to countering disinformation is engaging policymakers at the local, national, and EU level to inform the policy-making process.
IRI maintains a broad network of relationships with policymakers and frequently shares the results of Beacon Project research directly with interested elected and government officials.
The ever-changing nature of democracies means we are most effective when working alongside our local partners. The give-and-take between organized citizens and their government is necessary for the function of a healthy democracy, but too few contribute to this process. For that reason, much of what the Beacon Project does is assisting our local partners to engage their elected officials and governments directly, equipped with high-quality research and prepared to offer specific, data-driven policy recommendations.
Engagement often happens through public or private events, where IRI will convene elected officials, political party members, and policymakers; with civil society organizations and individual practitioners from various backgrounds, to come together and discuss how to address specific components of the disinformation phenomenon best. These discussions allow for elected and government officials to create better policies that are responsive to citizen input needs.
On January 28, 2019, the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a report with recommendations on how the EU should respond to disinformation. The report was taken up by the full Parliament on March 13 and successfully adopted with a final vote count of 489 in favor, 148 against, and 30 abstentions.
IRI’s Beacon Project helped inform the recommendations in the report through sustained engagement with key members of the Committee. In September 2018, we brought partners with expertise fighting against disinformation to provide concrete recommendations to members of the Committee.
Six months later the recommendations ultimately adopted by the European Parliament in the report are broadly consistent with what IRI and our Beacon Network partners advocated, including building resilience in targeted societies and institutions, working with a broad coalition of civil society and political partners, and supporting research that exposes how malign narratives exploit genuine citizen frustrations. Read more details about the report and what recommendations are contained in it.